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Autophagy. 2013 Nov 1;9(11):1653-62. doi: 10.4161/auto.24001. Epub 2013 Apr 16.

Tools and techniques to measure mitophagy using fluorescence microscopy.

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Molecular Probes® Labeling and Detection Technologies; Life Technologies™ Corporation; Eugene, OR USA.


Mitophagy is a specialized form of autophagy that removes damaged mitochondria, thereby maintaining efficient cellular metabolism and reducing cellular stress caused by aberrant oxidative bursts. Deficits in mitophagy underlie several diseases, and a substantial body of research has elucidated key steps in the pathways that lead to and execute autophagic clearance of mitochondria. Many of these studies employ fluorescence microscopy to visualize mitochondrial morphology, mass, and functional state. Studies in this area also examine colocalization/recruitment of accessory factors, components of the autophagic machinery and signaling molecules to mitochondria. In this review, we provide a brief summary of the current understanding about the processes involved in mitophagy followed by a discussion of probes commonly employed and important considerations of the methodologies to study and analyze mitophagy using fluorescence microscopy. Representative data, where appropriate, are provided to highlight the use of key probes to monitor mitophagy. The review will conclude with a consideration of new possibilities for mitophagy research and a discussion of recently developed technologies for this emerging area of cell biology.


GFP; LC3; autophagy; fluorescence microscopy; mitochondria; mitophagy

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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